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October 2008 | Volume 27 / Number 5
Innovative SOLUTIONS

Hosted Solutions: “Shrink-wrap” Products vs. Customized Solutions

By Joshua Shale ,
Director of Marketing, VoltDelta

Hosted Solutions for contact centers have been well established in the market — they are here to stay. The reasons for this are compelling: changing the cost structure from a capital expense to an operation expense; having the hosted provider manage the hardware, software, licensing and maintenance; leveraging the experience and expertise of the hosted provider as opposed to hiring personnel — and more.

When implementing hosted solutions, there typically appears to be two levels of hosted offerings: pre-prepared “shrink wrap” applications and completely customized “built from scratch” solutions. Each of these has their own distinct pros and cons that the contact center needs to evaluate before making a decision on a hosted solution service provider.

“Shrink-wrap” Applications

These pre-prepared applications are somewhat generic but are typically easily implemented; examples include store locators, survey applications and CTI integrations to common CRM packages. These applications are rapidly deployed and easily integrated with the basic contact center infrastructure. They can cover most of the common needs — but rarely satisfy all requirements and are not easily (or in some cases not at all) customizable. Smaller centers are more likely to use these applications as they are better suited to their needs.

Customized Solutions
Solutions that are built from the ground up and tailored to the exact needs of the contact center are perfect fits and address all current and most future requirements. They typically involve a discovery and requirements definition phase, a development and a testing phase, and then a roll-out. Solution development will include selecting multiple technologies and integrating them into the provider’s platform. While these solutions are perfect fits the implementation time is long and the process is expensive; typically only larger and more sophisticated centers can have completely customized solutions developed and deployed for them.

Bringing Together the Best of Both Worlds
Fortunately contact centers don’t have to choose just between “shrink wrap” applications and completely customized solutions; there is a way to get the best of both of these and to get it without their negative aspects.

The answer is hosted solutions that use a proven telephony platform that already has a complete suite of applications integrated into it. The key is that these applications must be easily customizable by the hosted solution provider to exactly fit the current needs of the contact center and to accept future modifications to handle future requirements. This allows for the exact requirement fulfillment of the completely customized solution but with the implementation time and expense of the “shrink wrap” application. This type of hosted solution provider has the experience to not only perform the rapid deployment but also to bring the expertise in customization to address all the center’s requirements. The cost, while typically greater than that of the “shrink wrap” application, is much less than that of the customized solution and provide an excellent value considering the costs versus requirement satisfaction.

This hybrid approach bringing together the best elements of both “shrink wrap” applications and completely customized solutions enables contact centers of any size and complexity to gain access to solutions that are rapidly deployed, meet their requirements and to provide all of the benefits of the hosted, on-demand model.

About VoltDelta Hosted Solutions
VoltDelta Hosted Solutions has announced our new product suites: OASIS On-Call, the complete hosted telephony platform; OASIS Voice Self-Service, the suite of speech automated solutions, and OASIS Web Client, the solution set for agent virtualization, productivity and management. Our new General Manager is Terry Saeger: [email protected]

Volt Delta Launches OASIS Smart-Station
Volt Delta recently announced OASIS Smart-Station as an addition to the company’s OASIS contact center suite of products. The new solution provides contact center agents with full telephony and media management capabilities, as well as a clear way of presenting all required applications and services including the use of individual tabbed views for each individual agent application. According to VoltDelta (News - Alert), as each call arrives these tabs are automatically popped and configured ready for use by the agent.

Additionally the company released OASIS Smart-Station for Microsoft Dynamics CRM, which offers a very rich and flexible CTI (News - Alert) interface between the OASIS contact center package and the Dynamics CRM system. The benefits of integrating so closely include the ability to create an immediate screen pop of the customer’s details on call arrival, based on either the caller’s telephone number or use of other information that the customer may have provided to an OASIS self-service speech application. The Microsoft (News - Alert) Dynamics CRM implementation also exploits the tabbed views approach to provide a number of additional screen pops for account-related information and other services. These could include the automatic screen pop of a separate browser window for a customer’s Web site, an immediate customer location with a map and Virtual Earth display based on the customer’s address and even automatically performing an Internet search to provide further details.

Designed to be a flexible highly integrated environment for efficient call handling and customer contact, the new offering from Volt Delta is available both as an on-premise offering and also as a hosted service.

– Greg Galitzine is editorial director at TMC (News - Alert).

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